Microsoft is arming intrepid Windows 12 testers with free flash drives

Some Windows testers are receiving the offer of a free flash drive from Microsoft, although exactly who is being given the chance to pick up a freebie USB stick is slightly confusing.

Windows Latest reports that they received an email from Microsoft regarding the new Canary Channel, which is the channel created for testing the very earliest builds. In other words, next-gen Windows (quite possibly Windows 12, though we don’t know that for sure, although the name has already been leaked by Intel).

That email offered the tech site a free flash drive (with at least 8GB of storage) with the goal of performing a clean installation of Windows, a task that is recommended to be undertaken with a blank flash drive from scratch.

Those getting this offer from Microsoft have to request the drive by filling out a simple form, and the company notes that: “Items are available on a first-come, first-served basis.”

There’s a limited supply, so those USB sticks could quickly run dry by the sound of things.

Analysis: Canary confusion?

What’s slightly confusing here is that we thought only those wanting to stay in the Dev Channel would need to reinstall Windows – and therefore might need a flash drive.

The way Microsoft has implemented this fork of testing channels works like this: the old Dev Channel has effectively become the Canary Channel, and anyway whoever stays in it gets moved to these cutting-edge earliest builds (with the most chance of hitting problems). Those who want to move to the new Dev Channel have to reinstall Windows 11, perform a clean installation of the OS, and then sign up for the new Dev path.

So, it would make sense that the latter are the folks who get a free USB stick if they need it for reinstallation media. That said, Windows Latest makes it clear that Microsoft is offering USB drives to “testers who want to support the road to the platform changes,” which presumably refers to next-gen Windows (Windows 12 possibly). And the screenshot provided as evidence is clearly on the topic of the Canary Channel.

What might be happening, then, is that a limited set of testers on either side of the fence – Canary and Dev – are being offered flash drives, or at least the chance to grab them before the freebie stock runs dry.

Whatever the case, if you get this offer emailed over to you and want to take advantage, we’d advise you act pretty swiftly. Microsoft notes that delivery of the USB stick could take up to 6-8 weeks, but hopefully that’s a seriously pessimistic estimate and the hardware may turn up a good deal quicker.

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Best Buy MacBook deals: Save up to $1,100 in latest flash sale

Finding a cheap MacBook deal is no easy task. Apple has historically pitched its line of luxury laptops way above the competition with a premium price tag only a few will ever max out. That said, Best Buy's latest flash sales are offering over $ 1,000 in savings with 2019 MacBook deals, helping turn that Apple-stamped powerhouse into a reality. 

We're seeing a selection of MacBook Air and Pro models in these deals, with each one sitting at a slightly different position in terms of power and price. You'll find skinny, streamlined MacBook Air deals that offer the perfect portable laptop for study and light work priced as low as $ 949.99 right now. But we're really excited about this 15-inch MacBook Pro bursting with top of the range specs and a $ 1,100 discount down to just $ 2,699.99

That's fantastic news if you've been saving for a brand new luxury computer, and even better if you weren't quite meeting the price tag yet. We're listing our top picks from Best Buy's flash sale, but you'll find more MacBook deals below our highlights as well as a handy guide if you're not sure which model to splash the cash on. 

Not in the US? Scroll down to find the best MacBook deals in your country.

Today's best Apple MacBook deals

Which MacBook deal is right for you?

A cheap MacBook deal is still a MacBook, and Apple's laptops rarely lose their value. That's great news for purchasers – your computer will hold its price tag for a long time after you buy it after all. But that does mean you'll need to be sure you're picking up the MacBook deal to suit you. 

So which MacBook deal is right for you? As with any laptop, finding the perfect model comes down to what you envision yourself using the computer for. There's no point in spending over $ 2,000 on a top of the range MacBook Pro with a 1TB SSD and 32GB of RAM if you're just going to be surfing the net. On the other hand, it's equally frustrating to spend $ 949 on the cheapest MacBook Air deal on offer today only to find that you would have been able to store all the programs you need by spending just $ 150 more.

We'd recommend picking up a MacBook Air model if you're using your new laptop for web browsing, light work, and study. If you're going to be running heavier programs like the Adobe suite or Logic Pro you'll want to take a look at higher processing and RAM options in the MacBook Pro. 

Still on the hunt? We've rounded up all the latest MacBook Air sales and MacBook Pro prices from a range of your favorite retailers. We're also making things even cheaper with a selection of refurbished MacBook deals to keep costs down further. 

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